NASA offers a rare, steady view of the sunlit Earth

Until now, you had to be an astronaut or a probe to see this for yourself.

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Until now, getting a good, steady look at the sunlit side of Earth either required a trip to the Moon or a photo from a departing space probe. Neither of those are very practical, to put it mildly. However, NASA is now delivering those kinds of photos in spades. Thanks to its DSCOVR satellite, it's snapping a complete, consistent picture of the sunlit Earth every two hours. This different perspective on our home planet is not only pretty (as you'll see in the video below), but opens up studies that weren't really possible before. Scientists can track clouds and dust as they travel around the world, for example.

DSCOVR hasn't even been taking these photos for a full year yet, but the implications could be huge. They should simplify following giant weather patterns like hurricanes, and it should do wonders for studying climate factors like ozone layers and vegetation. Don't be surprised if you soon have a better understanding of the environment thanks to a spacecraft a million miles away.

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